AIM We aimed to evaluate mortality and short-term neonatal morbidity of babies born ≤500 g cared for in the Northern Neonatal Network over a 15-year period. METHOD Using regional databases, we identified all live-born babies ≥22 weeks gestation and ≤500 g, in North East England and North Cumbria from 1998 to 2012. We quantified major neonatal morbidities and survival to one year. RESULTS We identified 104 live-born babies ≥22 weeks gestation and ≤500 g (birth prevalence 0.22/1000), of which 49 were admitted for intensive care. Overall one-year survival was 11%, but survival for those receiving intensive care was 22%. There was significant short-term neonatal morbidity in survivors, in particular retinopathy of prematurity and chronic lung disease. CONCLUSION Survival of babies born weighing ≤500 g in this cohort remains poor despite advances in neonatal care, with considerable short-term neonatal morbidity in survivors. This could be due to a combination of attitudes and a rather conservative approach towards resuscitation and intensive care, and the intrinsic nature of these tiny babies.